15. February 2024

Staying ahead in a fast-moving industry

The process industry is fundamental to every developed economy. In 2021, revenues of the chemical industry in the European Union summed up to over 1038 bn. euros, representing around 7.2 percent of the yearly gross domestic product (Eurostat 2022, Statista 2022). The markets for chemical products are constantly evolving, driven by global competition and high consumer expectations, as chemical products are included in almost every manufactured product. In this environment, a company’s long-term competitiveness is strongly depending on agility that enables faster adaptation to changing and diverse requirements. Simultaneously, many companies struggle with achieving the performance targets for their production and supporting processes in the short term. Digital transformation on the path to Industrie 4.0 allows to successively advance both agility and operational performance.

A survey conducted in 2019 found that about two-thirds of the innovation managers surveyed see implementation as the most difficult phase in the innovation strategy process (Glaß 2020). Identified potentials, in particular at interfaces and by scaling, are only seldomly converted into returns. Failure can largely be attributed to an insufficient match of activities and the neglection of necessary cultural and organizational change. Consequently, there is a need of an overarching plan that integrates individual projects into a consistent and targeted program with a clear focus on value.

This paper reveals, how industry champions from the chemical process industry face the presented situation and which tools they use to shape their individual path towards Industrie 4.0.





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